These Common Medications May Cause Dehydration

These Common Medications May Cause Dehydration

Despite the fact that water is incredibly accessible, it may be one of the most forgotten nutrients. Water balance determines a person’s hydration status, characterized by water input and output. It’s very possible for external factors (heat, exercise, exhaustion) to cause dehydration, but internal factors (medications or certain foods) also cause water imbalance. In fact, some common pharmaceutical drugs and medications that people take on a daily basis may trigger dehydration.

One of the potential side effects of many medications is dehydration. If you take a medication that lists dehydration as a side effect, you may want to talk to your doctor about an alternative. Making more of an effort to drink water is an option, but avoiding the medication may be a better way to address the problem. A common list of the symptoms of dehydration is below:

  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision

When you decide to take a medication, discuss the complete list of side effects with your pharmacist or doctor. Some of the most common medications that cause dehydration are detailed below.

Apremilast for Plaque Psoriasis

Some people with moderate-to-severe psoriasis decide to take Apremilast (Otezla) to help their condition. It works by targeting an enzyme in the body that aids with inflammation reduction. Unfortunately, a very common side effect is diarrhea, which can deplete the body of water. Clinical studies on this drug found that 17% of patients reported diarrhea. If you take this drug and continue to experience diarrhea, you may want to consider another alternative. 


Water pills or diuretics work to remove salt and water from the body via urination. Unfortunately, regular use can cause the body to enter a mild state of dehydration. Doctors often prescribe diuretics to patients with heart problems like high blood pressure. The goal is to reduce the amount of fluid in blood vessels to ease the pressure on blood vessel walls. Common ones include thiazide, loop, and potassium-sparing diuretics. 


People who suffer from constipation hope to encourage regular, healthy bowel movements by taking laxatives. Ideally, you should not take laxatives for an extended period of time because waste elimination is something the body should do on its own. Laxatives are easy to obtain because most of them are over-the-counter. When you accelerate bowel movements, though, the body can flush out too much water in a short time period. If laxatives increase bowel movements to the point of diarrhea, you may experience dehydration due to fluid loss. Do not abuse laxatives!


Chemotherapy medicine is part of cancer treatment. Some of the side effects of chemotherapy include vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. In fact, about 80% of people who get chemotherapy experience those side effects, which cause dehydration. One episode of vomiting or diarrhea may not induce dehydration, but prolonged diarrhea or vomiting for hours or days at a time can put you in a severe state of dehydration. 


Lithium is a common mood stabilizer that doctors often prescribe for people with bipolar disorder. One of the most common side effects is increased urination. Because of this, health experts advise notifying a doctor if the patient experiences an insatiable thirst while taking lithium. It’s also possible for lithium to lead to diabetes insipidus, a rare condition that causes the body to urinate a large volume of diluted urine. 

Excedrin Migraine

Excedrin Migraine is one of the most popular over-the-counter medications to relieve migraines. It’s a combination of aspirin, caffeine, and acetaminophen. The caffeine works to relieve pain and enhance the effects of acetaminophen. This medication can also have a mild diuretic effect, according to several clinical researchers. If this happens, you have to increase water intake to counteract the dehydrating effects. 

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